Three guilty of abuse of 'enslaved' woman in London

From left: Enkarta Balapovi, Shamina Yousuf and Shashi Obhrai Balapovi, Yousuf and Obhrai were convicted of abusing the woman

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Three people have been found guilty of abusing an Indian woman who was treated like a servant and sexually abused.

The mother of four, 39, from Hyderabad, was employed in three London households as a nanny and domestic worker.

Enkarta Balapovi, 54, was convicted of five counts of rape.

Shamina Yousuf, 33, and Shashi Obhrai, 54, were both found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Obhrai, of Northwood, was also convicted of making a threat to kill.

The jury at Croydon Crown Court cleared Aleemuddin Mohammed, 35, of Sefton Avenue, Harrow, of sexual assault.

Obhrai, an optician from Moor Park in Northwood, Balapovi, a butcher, of Charlburt Street in St John's Wood, Mohammed and Shanaz Begum, a shop worker from St John's Wood, were found not guilty of trafficking offences on the direction of the judge.

'Can't move on'

The victim first worked for supermarket manager Mr Mohammed, and his then wife, Shamina Yousuf, of Edgware, north London, before moving in with Shahnaz Begum, 57, and her partner, Enkarta Balapovi.

The 39-year-old later worked for Shashi Obhrai, the court heard.

Analysis

Police described a harrowing catalogue of abuse suffered by the victim.

The 39-year-old was made to sleep on the kitchen floor and only given scraps of food to eat.

The mother-of-four was burned with an iron by Shashi Obhrai, who also threatened her with insulin needles, hit her head with a rolling pin and beat her on the back with high heeled shoes.

Her employer also forced the teeth of a comb into her head and dragged her down the stairs by her hair.

The years of abuse have taken their toll on the woman, who now needs a wheelchair.

She is still in England and is recovering under the care of a charity called Kalayaan, which specialises in help for migrant domestic workers.

She was paid about £2,300 between 2003 and 2006, and was treated as a "sexual toy or general dogsbody", the trial heard.

Her passport was taken from her after she reached the UK and she was made to work up to 16 hours a day for 365 days a year, the jury heard.

Following the verdict the victim said in a statement: "They have treated me so badly that I worry at night that they will come for me.

"When I think of Salim [Balapovi] I feel like my wounds are reopened. I can't move on - he raped me.

"Shashi Obhrai put a hot iron on my arm when I asked her for my earnings to be paid.

"These people are dangerous they have ruined my life and kept me away from my children. Each should be punished for their wrongdoings."

The court heard that the victim was barely given a proper meal and was beaten by Obhrai when she was too dizzy to cook.

On one occasion she managed to escape and reach a help centre but Obhrai found her. Jurors heard she held a kitchen knife to the victim's neck and threatened to kill her.

Det Ch Insp Nick Sumner of the Trafficking and Prostitution Unit, said: "This victim came to the UK to earn enough money to provide her children back in India with a better life but instead the defendants made her own life a living hell for over three years.

"She is deeply traumatised yet found the courage to seek help and face her abusers in court because she does not want these people to able to hurt anyone else."

Balapovi, Yousuf and Obhrai will be sentenced on 16 May.

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